Object and Objective Lost? Organization-Phobia in Organization Theory

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This paper explores the erosion and problematization of ‘the organization’ as a demarcated entity. Utilizing Foucault's reflections on ‘state-phobia’ as a source of inspiration, I show how an organization-phobia has gained a hold within Organization Theory (OT). By attending to the history of this organization-phobia, the paper argues that OT has become increasingly incapable of speaking about its core object. I show how organizations went from being conceptualized as entities of major importance to becoming theoretically deconstructed and associated with all kinds of ills. Through this history, organizations as distinct entities have been rendered so problematic that they have gradually come to be removed from the center of OT. The costs of this have been rather significant. Besides undermining the grounds that gave OT intellectual credibility and legitimacy to begin with, the organization-phobia resulting from this history has been implicated in dismantling organizations, and in making OT progressively irrelevant to a wider public.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)439-461
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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